Do I Have A Small Claims Case Against My Former Roommate?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

I had a month-to-month verbal agreement to rent for a room paying $800 a month. After a dispute, she asked me to move out immediately after I had paid the month’s rent. She kept the balance of the rent. She claims she doesn’t have to give me anything because we had no contract, but I managed to get her on recording saying we had such an agreement. Do I have a small-claims case against her?

You may have a claim. The question is not, as your landlord is trying to claim, whether you had a written contract or not. The question is, how much notice of termination are you entitled to under your state’s laws?

The other question is, how much is your claim worth? If your landlord had followed the proper procedure, you would have been able to stay there longer, but of course you would have had to pay rent during that time. So whatever losses you incurred need to be offset by the rent you didn’t pay to her.

If you’ve still got a loss after you take that into account, I would certainly suggest looking into small claims court as an option to resolve your dispute. Small claims is designed to be inexpensive and available to non-attorneys, so you have little to lose by making the effort.